Thursday , Mar , 01 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Bruins attempt to clinch outright Pac-10 title

Pullman, WA (Sports Network) – The second-ranked UCLA Bruins are playing
outstanding basketball at just the right time, and the team has traveled
to Pullman for this evening’s showdown with the Washington State

UCLA closed out its first undefeated home season in 32 years with a
75-61 victory over Stanford on Saturday. The Bruins have clinched at
least a share of the conference crown for the second consecutive year,
and they can win the title outright with a victory this evening. They have
won their last four games and are a favorite to grab one of the four top
seeds in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.

Washington State is the only other Pac-10 team still in contention for the
conference crown, but it would need to win its final two games combined
with a pair of losses by UCLA. The Cougars have won six of their last
seven games to move to 23-5 overall and 12-4 in league play, and they are
coming off a 58-54 decision over Oregon State on Saturday.

UCLA recorded a 55-52 decision over Washington State way back in
December, and the Bruins own a commanding 90-13 advantage in the all-time
series between the teams.

UCLA junior Arron Afflalo seems undecided if he will enter the NBA Draft
after this season. If Saturday’s game against Stanford did mark Afflalo’s last
a home as a Bruin, he certainly went out in style with 20 points and six
rebounds. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute added 11 points for UCLA before fouling
out, and Darren Collison posted 10 points, six assists and five steals. The
Bruins knocked down 9-of-16 three-pointers and finished with only nine
turnovers in the victory. Overall this season, Afflalo is netting 17.5 ppg,
and he can score in a variety of ways. Josh Shipp is posting 13.3 ppg, and
Collison checks in with 12.9 ppg, 160 assists and 61 steals. In conference
games, UCLA is scoring 71.6 ppg while holding opponents to 60.9 ppg.

Derrick Low leads Washington State with 13.9 ppg on 41.3 percent shooting
from three-point range, and Kyle Weaver checks in with 11.1 ppg, 4.8 apg
and 59 steals. Daven Harmeling (9.9 ppg) and Ivory Clark (9.1 ppg) add further
balance to the lineup. Strong defense is key to WSU’s success, as it is
limiting foes to 57.8 ppg on 39.4 percent shooting from the field. In the
four-point win over Oregon State on Saturday, Aaron Baynes scored 14 points
off the bench to pace the Cougars. Robbie Cowgill tallied 12 points, and
Low pitched in 10 points. Washington State shot 50 percent from the floor
and limited Oregon State to 37.5 percent. Also, the Cougars committed only six
turnovers in the clash.